Publisher’s Note: This is my son’s first post. He is currently waiting to start his MS program in Mechanical Engineering this fall in our beloved Idaho. I am proud to say that it was my son that ushered me down the path from minarchism to anarchism. I know that fathers are known to exaggerate but Kyle is an intellectual force of nature and I prize his insights and out-of-the-box thinking. I look forward to many more contributions in the future. -BB
This is an address to the libertarian-anarchist movement. If you remain unconvinced of the merits of a stateless society, if you insist that even some problems can only be solved with violence, please move along, continue your daily routine. This is not for you.
Part I: To Achieve Freedom, We Must Build It
For as long as I have been a libertarian, the movement has exhibited a common theme. We spend an enormous amount of energy attempting to convince people of the merits of a free society. We argue, plead, and beg people, like a cheap whore on a Las Vegas street corner, to understand that freedom is the only ethical and effective solution to our problems. It is – without a doubt. The godfathers of our ideology have indisputably won the argument for freedom. Spooner, Bastiat, Mises, Rothbard, [David & Patri] Friedman, I salute you.
But the problem is, this is all we do. We work tirelessly to convert people to the cause. Let me be very clear: we are failing by an enormous margin. Sheep are walking off the public school assembly line at a much faster rate than we are converting. Yet just like philosophers, we stand idly by pleading our neighbors to accept our beliefs. What do libertarians think will happen if we are able to convert a majority of the world population? Will a free society suddenly appear as the state collapses around it? If Ron Paul is elected president, will the majority of the population suddenly accept freedom as it is thrust upon them?
The majority of our movement has become so obsessed with why we should be free, we have completely ignored how we will become free. If we want freedom, we must stop trying to explain it, and we must start showing the world what it is. And in order to show what freedom is, we must build free institutions. The state uses violence and force to claim the sole right to provide services that might otherwise be provided voluntarily. The state has many guns, and there is great risk to compete with them, but nonetheless we still have the ability. And we can find ways to do so in a way that minimizes the risk to our life and maximizes our ability to create freedom. The state will not collapse until people can physically see better solutions.
Further reading: https://fr33agents.com/?p=1572#comments
Part II: Reputation, or How We Can Provide Consequences for Bad Behavior When The State Won’t
Here’s where the ambiguity ends, and I provide you with an example of what building a free institution means.
For the average a-political citizen, the government’s job is to provide consequences for bad behavior. If you murder someone, the justice system’s job is to put you in jail. But as we know so very well, the united states justice system is inherently corrupt and will never objectively provide consequences for unethical or immoral behavior, especially against its own. But the average citizen has not seen alternative solutions to providing consequences for bad behavior, and so when he perceives failure in the justice system, his only recourse – so far as he see it – is to protest. Perhaps if he is motivated enough he will becomes politically involved and attempt to reform the system. History has proved this never works.
Now. Take a breath, close your eyes and imagine this scenario. A member of the SWAT team responsible for the murder of Jose Guerena walks up to the door of his local grocery store in Tucson. There on the glass is his picture, and underneath reads, “your business is not welcome here.”
In a stateless society, reputation will be king. When Joe Citizen makes a purchase from Ebay, does he expect a three letter government agency to protect him against fraud? Of course not! Ebay built a system of reputation and feedback. The consequences of fraud are of course that everyone knows, and very few people will want to purchase from you in the future. In this situation, profit is an incentive not to commit fraud. We are not philosophizing about freedom here – we are simply observing what is. And no one had to walk around and convince half the population that it would be safe to buy from random strangers on the internet. It was built, it was seen, and lots of people took a rational risk to participate.
The lesson to be learned from Ebay is that reputation can be used to provide consequences for bad behavior. And we can do it today, instead of wandering around waiting for the state to collapse. We can scroll through the archives of Radley Balko’s blog, and find the name of every cop who has beaten, tazed, and murdered an innocent, and we can use local resources to find their addresses, phone numbers, and emails. And then we can build a network of libertarian business owners, and convince them to stop doing business with evil people.
The founder and CEO of PayPal, Peter Thiel, is such a dedicated libertarian he donated half a million to the Seasteading project. What if we could convince him to blacklist these people? If Visa/Mastercard can deny service to WikiLeaks, why can’t PayPal deny service to thieves and murderers? What would happen if upon cursory inspection of some one’s Ebay profile you wished to purchase from, you noticed a comment identifying them as a police officer involved in the beating of an innocent child? Would you purchase from someone like that? Of course simply denying business to murderers isn’t the worst of consequences, but it is a start.
If you find yourself saying, “It will never work … “, “The state will simply fight back”, or “it’s too risky,” then I implore you, stop reading. Go back to your TV and remain a complacent libertarian. Keep trying to convince your friends that freedom is the way while the state rapes and pillages your neighbors without consequence. Keep begging the mafia to change their ways.
I have only provided you with an example of how we can work to achieve freedom. Maybe I am completely wrong. But this much is clear to me: We must stop working to convince people of freedom, and we must start talking about how we can build it, how we can achieve it. We will not wake up one day and be free. We will not find freedom, it will not appear in the ashes of a fallen state. We must physically show people peaceful alternatives. It is the only way we will achieve freedom.